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One of the first things Tori was staring to realise about being in the dojo was that, the day started early- extremely early. Val had left three days ago and Tori felt completely lost, not that she'd ever mention it to Lake. The thought of her as a leader was laughable, but she knew why Val had called her of all the other people she knew. Tori understood leadership better than anyone, knew the impact of position and power and what went wrong when it went to the wrong person. Her whole life had been proof enough of that fact.
Plus Val knew, despite the mess that she was, Tori would do anything to protect people from ever experiencing the life, she had seen at the club. She had trained in every method of self-defense from a really young age, especially since she had found many of the drug dealers eyeing her in a way that made her skin crawl. It was how she had been able to deal with Lake's captor and the guards and why, inspite of how unqualified she felt, she knew she would do well in the position.
A cup of coffee later, she found herself exploring the area around the dojo. Having been busy with unpacking and meeting Val and learning the ropes, Tori hadn't had enough time to explore. She jogged around the place, music blasting from her ear-pods, as her gaze tried to familiarize itself with the landscape and the pathways. Although, she was grateful for having a sister in her life, she still desired her moments of solitude.
Having arrived at an intersection of sorts, she took a moment to rest, when she noticed another girl coming up from the opposite direction. Astoria cracked her head trying to remember her name, but with the whirl of the introduction that had been performed, and the member file that had been unopened, she simply couldn't place her. Not a smart move, but she decided to forgive herself for it.
"Nice morning" she semi-waved at the stranger "Are you out exercising too?" Not the best conversation starter, but the fact that she had initiated one was enough for the usually taciturn Astoria.
Staff changes. Ember hates them. Especially when the change involves one of her very few friends leaving and putting a stranger in charge. It’s no secret among the people of the dojo that Ember is antisocial, closed off, remaining entirely professional even to the other trainers that work there. She’s not the type to mix business and pleasure and half of them have taken to wondering if she ever sleeps. It seems like if she’s not at Sly Fox, she’s here. Not that she cares. Let them whisper.
Either way, Ember also isn’t one to shirk responsibility. She’d taken the job here at the dojo so, Val or no Val, she intends to carry out what she’d promised she would. She hasn’t met the new leader, Astoria she thinks, yet since she’d been at her other job when the woman had gone around meeting a few people and hasn’t bothered to check in with her yet. She knows she’ll have to eventually but for right now she’s content to keep to herself.
But, a creature of habit when she’s allowed to be, she doesn’t change her routine much. It’s put her at the dojo at an insanely early hour, cleaning and preparing and making sure things are in place for her classes later before heading out to take a quick jog and stretch so she doesn’t have to worry about it when she’s more pressed for time. She moves in silence, her bare feet making barely any sound on the pathways. When she sees the unfamiliar figure in the distance, Ember nearly turns around and goes the other way. But she’s trying to do better about her antisocial tendencies so she resists, continuing on until the woman waves to her and she slows her steps until she stops, bright blue eyes looking her over for a moment as she returns the half wave.
“Morning.” She’s always careful to keep her accent carefully monitored when speaking to someone new, at least until she determines who they are and what they’re after. Because of that she sounds appropriately like she’s from Colorado, no trace of her Italian accent present. “Yeah, just getting a jog in before I have to start classes later…” Obviously this woman’s a Dhampir but Ember isn’t quite sure what her goal is. Just making small talk? A new trainer or someone looking to use the dojo? “Can I help you?” While she’s not wearing an identifying tag she’s fairly sure her earlier statement conveys that she works here fine and she’s working to keep her tone cordial instead of sharp like it always used to be.
Tori had a long list of vices and she wasn't shy from acknowledging them. They never really made much of a difference to her and since her current goal wasn't anything metaphysical, she'd let them rest exactly as they were. But she acknowledged that one of her most prominent was envy. Growing up among emotionally stilted people had made it rather impossible for her to connect with others. It had never really mattered before but as she grew up and noticed the sort of interactions people had with each other, it created a wretched sort of longing within her own heart and that she absolutely despised.
For Astoria, there was nothing as inconvenient in life as hope and expectations. She had learnt the hard way, of just how futile everything was and had vowed to never let emotions govern her life. Some might term her cold or hard-hearted, but all Astoria felt was numb. And that was a constitution that she really prefered. But a tiny part of her couldn't help but be envious of those who could connect and interact well with others, who were completely secure in the knowledge that they had someone for them and who would be willing in turn to do anything in return. Tori didn't crave it, but she also couldn't completely dismiss the intriguing idea of friends, family and relationship.
Valeria hadn't really been her friend, atleast in Tori's estimation. She didn't really do friends and the process of investing emotionally in others was a foreign concept. But they had gotten along well and so when an opportunity had arisen to get away from the familiarity of her surroundings, Astoria had taken it without a thought.
Now, however, faced with the prospect of conversing with a member, who'd basically see her as a leader made her apprehensive. It was why instead of introducing herself as their new ambassador, she simply went being curious about the place. Valeria had shown her a bit, but the land was extensive and she'd certainly want a thorough knowledge about it.
"Eh..sure" Tori began with a nonchalant shrug "I just wanted a tour of sorts around the dojo and see what's where you know. I'm kinda new around" She wasn't sure if she'd be interrupting the other girl's day, so she added "I wouldn't want to take away any time of yours or eh...keep you from your task. I don't care what others say, but socialising can be absolutely taxing sometimes" Offering her a small smile, Astoria took a step away, letting the woman make decision.
This woman seems to be a touch apprehensive about meeting her which Em can certainly identify with. Most new people to the dojo approach it with a degree of hesitancy or, if they were her, avoided it entirely until she had no other choice. Thankfully the layout is pretty easy to understand so it didn’t take very long to figure everything out once she had to show up on a regular basis.
Noting that she’s allowing Ember the chance to back out, Em gives a slight shrug and motions for the dark haired woman to follow her, slowing her steps from before and moving at a more leisurely pace as she strolls. “You’re not. I have about an hour before the students show up, that’s plenty of time to hit the highlights. I also have a map in my office if you’d like a copy of that.” Typically the suspicious sort, even of other Dhampir, Ember is having to really tamp down her natural inclination to walk several feet ahead of the woman tailing her. “Name’s Ember. I’m one of the trainers here at the dojo.” She’s notably soft spoken despite her rather intense demeanor though it’s hard to place her accent. It doesn’t sound exactly native to Colorado but then it doesn’t sound exactly like anything. “The grounds may be large but they’re laid out efficiently and almost everything connects so you’ll eventually find your way around.”
As she walks with Tori she points out the important areas for people to know about the dojo, which rooms are which and where people who work there tend to stay, as well as other interesting little tidbits. Mindful of the fact that she’s not really trying to be a tour guide but is instead talking to another member of the community here though she figures she could at least attempt small talk. “So… what brings you to Evermore of all places?” A question she’s been asked rather often herself. Though everyone’s answers are different. “I hope you’re settling in alright.” Man she forgot how frustrating this was. She was right, social situations are exhausting and she’s out of practice. She has to get better at this again.
It wasn't that Astoria resented change, but she disliked disorder and ignorance, and most change certainly came with them. It was an inconvenience to sort of be a boss of a place and yet know almost nothing about it. She believed that to thrive in any environment, even if it was her shady club back then, knowledge was power. And hence here she was, on a lazy day, exploring around rather than helping her sister unpack. And although her current companion seemed reserved and rather reluctant to give a tour, Tori took it as a good opportunity to get to know the community, without the title of ambassador hanging over her head.
"I'd certainly love that map Ember, would make things easy for me. Do you also have a digital version of it?" Astoria was skeptical whether Val had taken time to get the info up on a virtual platform, but if not, that was certainly something she would want to incorporate. "How's the trainer life? Do you have many students? I don't know about you, but teaching seems hard. I'm not great at the whole meet and greet thing to be honest" A light shrug accompanied her confession as Astoria took in her surroundings, trying to memorize the layout. "Eventually huh? That's comforting atleast. Do other factions also come to the dojo or is it solely for our kind?" Val had filled in about the other factions around Evermore and as Tori was yet to interact with the other ambassadors, she felt it best to get to know as much as she could.
The dojo was spectacular. There was no other way to describe it, and Astoria almost felt proud to call it her own, for however long she stayed here. She was actually glad to have bumped into Ember because the tidbits were interesting and it gave her a better understanding of the members she would now be leading. At her question, a light grin graced her features, "Oh, I was actually invited by a friend. My sister and I wanted a change, and when Evermore was described to us, we packed our bags and landed here. We are settling well, but unpacking is a huge pain." Tori wondered if her companion would welcome any questions about herself, so instead of asking her the same, instead decided to inquire about something else. "You must have been here for a while right? So what's your favourite place around? And what would you improve if you got the chance?"
If she’s being honest, it’s less that she’s reluctant to help people out and more that she’s just gotten so used to being on her own that she’s simply quiet. Well, that plus she’s used to people attempting to kill her, which can lead to some trust issues. This woman at least seems content with hanging back a safe distance which she appreciates. Not everyone understands personal space.
“I’m not sure, I’ll have to look. I’m pretty sure one was in the works but that’s not really my area.” At all. She’s just there to help train the young ones, though she still wonders why on earth Val would’ve hired her of all people. Especially knowing what Ember’s like. She turns her head slightly to her companion as she starts asking her questions, just to show that she’s listening. “It’s not really something I’m used to. I’ve been here for a few months so I’m still adjusting to the whole… teaching thing. I teach a couple classes but I mostly do one on one with whoever wants the extra practice.” She falls quiet for a moment before she continues. “I’m not sure if they like me or not but they come back so I suppose I’m at least effective.” What was the word her first class had used for her? Terrifying. Yeah, she’s okay with that though. “I’ve seen a few people from different species come in to train, especially the more physically inclined ones, but it’s not too common. I’ve never stopped them, it’s not like they’re hurting anything, but it’s mostly other Dhampir.” At least in her experience. She even had a human come in once, which was admittedly strange though they hadn’t bothered anything so she let them stay as well.
Knowing that she’s not the best at social situations, Em is really just grateful that she’s not coming across as too stiff. To think she’d once been in place to be the advisor to royalty and a diplomat to boot. It’s amazing how much ten years can change. She nods slightly at Tori’s answer, something that’s not too uncommon for this city actually. “On and off for several years, yeah.” This city just keeps drawing her back, though she knows why. It’s the only place she’s managed to make connections, actual connections, since... everything. Her next question brings a dry chuckle past the red head’s lips and a light shrug lifts her shoulders. “I don’t know if I have a favorite place.” There’s several options but… “If I had to pick one, it would be the company I own. As for what I would change, it would definitely be the weird shit going on here.” Ohh right, Tori’s new. She might not know. Instead of expanding, she simply waits to see if the stranger presses the point any.
Astoria stored away that tidbit, deciding to speak to her sister about making things more technological. She wasn't completely a fanatic on the whole modern bandwagon but making things digital was just convenient. Lake and she had started making a list of the members responsible for each department and Tori knew she'd have to chat one on one with them soon enough. It just felt better and more comfortable doing it without being seen as the ambassador. It wasn't that the dhampir was rejecting the idea- she certainly wouldn't be there otherwise, but it felt freer to be spoken to as a member rather than a leader.
"It's nice to have people like you, but it's better to have them respect and rely on your abilities. Just feels more effective," Tori replied in response to Ember's comments about her students. She had personally never taught anyone anything, content always to remain unobserved and in the back. It felt safer to remain invisible then. The only time Astoria had really any leadership experience was when she had been looking for her sister Lake. It had been frightening to be the one making decisions, deciding the next move, but the fear of finding a sister dead had pushed every other fear aside. Now that things were settled, she wasn't completely confident in herself about the whole thing but it felt right to atleast give it a responsible trial.
"Has the city changed a lot? I've known people who've lived in the same place for years and while for some, time seemed to have stopped, for others it's been like living in a whole new place. What's Evermore like?" The dhampir was certainly curious to learn more about the place she'd be calling home for a while. She would like to take her own measure of the place but it didn't hurt to have a different perspective presented to her from someone who had been living there for quite some time now. "That's impressive that you own a company and still get time to train. I am not always great at multi-tasking though I am trying to change that trait," she confessed with a chuckle but sobered as her companion spoke about 'weird shit' happening around. She knew logically, there had to have been a pretty good reason for Val to have gone off the way she did, but hearing this tidbit was putting some puzzles pieces in place. "What do you mean? Weird shit as in strange stuff around?" She asked her curious gaze resting on the dhampir girl, glad to know that she wasn't one for mincing or sugar-coating stuff.
For the most part Ember is in charge of her own schedule, which is something she really appreciates about working here. It not only gives her an outlet to work off energy and keep herself sharp, it allows her to do so on her own admittedly strange schedule. Of course that also means she’s hardly in charge, previously that had been Val though she had taken on some of the administrative issues since her departure. She’d be more than happy to hand them back over to the new person in charge though, her time is already strained as it is. “The way I see it, I’m there to train them to save their lives or someone else’s. I’d rather be effective than liked. It’s been a learning experience for me since I have to learn other weapons which has proven useful.” She took especially quickly to the bow even if she does still prefer guns for range.
Had Val not asked her to take over a bit of training she likely would’ve been just like Tori preferred, sticking to the back and in the shadows. She looks over at Tori again as they continue to walk and she thinks for a moment before answering. “It depends on the day. Most of the time it’s just like any other city with it’s good and bad. It definitely has it’s danger but that’s where it differs a little. The danger here can be worse because it’s magic inclined.” Another pause as she thinks through her words. “It changes but also stays the same. Of course it probably helps that I try not to get involved in politics.” Her little smirk suggests she finds something about what she just said funny but she doesn’t elaborate.
If only Tori knew just how much she wouldn’t have time for both normally. Ember maybe gets four hours of sleep a week, pushing herself until she literally collapses because otherwise she’ll just stay in bed staring at the ceiling and getting nothing accomplished. Instead of divulging that though the woman just chuckles and gives a noncommittal shrug. “I have a flexible schedule at both places, that helps.” Also true, but it really does help that she doesn’t actually sleep. So far only Felix has caught onto that truth but he wisely doesn’t bring it up. When it comes to things not involving her she’s certainly quite honest so when Tori presses for more information bright blue eyes meet the woman’s, her face quite serious. “There’s been attacks. People losing themselves and going crazy, whole stores and bars falling unconscious. Dark magic is suspected but to my knowledge there’s nothing solid despite some very powerful people working on it.” She hates magic. She’s quite skilled with runes, but magic like Diviners practice is so different and barring the protective charms she has her hands on, she has no interest in exposing herself to any of it.